Episode 106: Consciousness — what is it and does it have to come in human form?

Perhaps it is our human’s ability to examine and question our own nature that sets us apart from other thinking, feeling animals.  Consciousness — our experience of the Self, and the curiosity (and angst) about what we are, why we are and what else we could be...

But what is consciousness arose in another form? What happens when it arises in AI…in machines?

This week we’re continuing our discussion of the films Ex Machina and Her, and adding on insights from the TV series Westworld and Humans, looking more closely at the question of Consciousness & Free Will.


In this episode we discuss:

  • What is consciousness?
  • Westworld’s character Dolores & how questioning the nature of your reality is a step towards consciousness
  • Julian Jaynes’s Origin of Consciousness theory
  • Martin Heidegger’s thoughts about the human angst of realising “we are creatures at the mercy of contingency”
  • The relationship between Discontent/Suffering & the emergence of Consciousness – in Westworld, in Buddhism, in Heidegger
  • Programming — breaking out of our own social programming (Westworld’s character Maeve as she struggles to find free will)
  • How story informs our lives (how we run on our own set of stories, Westworld programming AI ‘hosts’ through story)


Again, you definitely do not need to have seen any of these films or series to enjoy our conversation.  Just be aware there may be some spoilers.  Enjoy the second trip down the rabbit hole!